Music from the Time of Vlad Dracula
Cançonièr presents 15th-century music from the time of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, whose tyrannical rule of Wallachia (Southern Romania) shocked Europe.
Indianapolis Historical Society
Friday, July 23, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Adult single tickets are $22. Student single tickets are $12.
Tim Rayborn and Annette Bauer are co-leaders of the ensemble Cançonier. The group presents a concert titled “Music From the Time of Vlad Dracula” at an unusual venue, the Indianapolis Historical Society.
Rayborn’s background is in literature and culture. His PhD thesis was on the Crusades. “Vlad actually reigned for about six years in the mid-fifteenth century. Much of his famous – or infamous! – reputation comes from a literary source.”
A German poet, Michel Beheim, wrote a long epic entitled “Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia.” The poem was set to music and performed at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III. According to accounts from the period, the tale shocked and titillated the Emperor’s court.
“We use excerpts from the poem as bookends for our performance of music from his time,” Rayborn says.
Hints From Around The Globe
Annette Bauer’s education is in medieval and renaissance studies. The approach she takes to the performance and practice of early music, though, is informed by the contemporary music of other cultures.
“When we look at a scrap of music or even a written piece that was played in Vlad’s time, it’s almost a set of hints as to how it sounded. I study modal music in living world traditions; in particular, with the music of North India. Tradition does evolve, but it is also conservative.”
Rayborn adds, “Vlad’s tastes in music, if any, are not known, but the time [when he lived] offers a great variety [of influences] that we’re happy to exploit. Cançonier’s program includes traditional Balkan folk songs, works by contemporary German and French composers and chant from the Eastern Orthodox Church.”